And it's tucked, somewhere. The HP headline is "Your next Houston Astros manager should be..." But there's only who it shouldn't be. And I'm sure this is what Drayton means when he says the Astros have the best fans in baseball:
Seeing as it's Drayton McLane doing the hiring, I'm sure that no matter who gets the job it will be the wrong person.
In the worthwhile portion of this post, Royal crosses names off the list.
Dave Clark: Clark's primary qualification for the job seems to be that the players really, really, really like him. His other qualification seems to be that he's been the team's third-base coach, and he's sucked as badly as a third-base coach as Cooper sucked while he was Phil Garner's bench coach. So while it's okay to let Clark run out the string, it's probably safe to say that if this guy is managing the team in 2010 then this team will probably suck just as bad as this current team.
Jim Fregosi: Fregosi led the then-California Angels to their first playoff spot in 1979, and he led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993 -- he was also the guy the Angels traded for Nolan Ryan. But he's not known for his ability to develop young players, and he's also known as a guy who tends to let the players run the clubhouse, and I would think the Astros are tired of guys like Carlos Lee leading the clubhouse.
Manny Acta: Acta had the misfortune of managing the Nationals, who have been one of the worst teams in baseball since moving from Montreal to Washington. This was more the fault of a bungling front office than it was Acta, but seeing as how the Astros' front office has been a bunch of bungling fools since Gerry Hunsicker left, and seeing as how the Astros seem to be as bereft of talent as the Nationals, then Acta is the wrong guy. This guy might be able to win with talent, but he's proven that he can't win with old, washed-up veterans and a non-existent pitching rotation.
Al Pedrique: Pedrique seems to be under consideration because he's already part of the Astros system. And frankly, seeing how awful the Astros organization has been this decade, that should be an automatic disqualification.
Jeff Bagwell/Craig Biggio: Jeff Bagwell has given no indication that he wants to manage...And watching Craig Biggio's "me first" form of playing should be evidence that he shouldn't be a major-league manager. Besides, except for Biggio with a bunch of high school kids, none of these guys has any managing experience. We're talking Drayton McLane here, so their lack of managing experience doesn't matter because he probably thinks -- and is probably right -- that there would be enough fools out in the city who would buy tickets for Astros games because one of these guys was managing.
Brad Ausmus: I think Ausmus would be a fantastic manager. Some of the best current managers are former catchers -- Mike Scioscia with the Angels, Joe Girardi with the Yankees, Joe Torre with the Dodgers, and Bruce Bochy with the Giants are just four that I can think of. But I also think he needs to actually earn a managing job. Let him go to the minors for a couple of years, or work as a bench coach. But his first job upon retiring as an active player shouldn't be as the manager of the Houston Astros.
Back on September 8, Royal put forth Frank Robinson as an option for Coop's replacement. He is also someone who would punch Lance Berkman in the mouth (but he'll have to get in line). Royal said:
He has never managed a team to the playoffs. So he appears to be just another manager who has been given the opportunity to fail with multiple managing jobs. But it's for this reason that he's the best possible manager for the Astros next season...Robinson was able to get Alfonso Soriano to stop pouting and to make an effort when he was forced to change positions, so think of what he could with the likes of Carlos Lee. And if Robinson couldn't command the respect of the Astros clubhouse, then it's just not possible to tame that clubhouse and massive changes elsewhere need to be made.